As reported in many different media and news sources, social network Twitter is laying off up to 336 employees, comprising 8% of its current workforce. This was the first major move by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who was named permanent CEO just last week, to address the doldrums that Twitter has lately found itself in.
Twitter has around 4,100 hundred employees globally. However, that number has jumped up up quickly over the past year or so through acquisitions and hiring, having increased 24% since last June. So right now the layoffs seem to be less about the survivability of the company than about streamlining, and reassuring investors that the ship has not gone adrift. (Twitter's stock fell 7% on Monday, but has risen 2% in pre-market trading today.)
In a letter to the company, Dorsey emphasized such facts, and stated that "Twitter will go to great lengths to take care of each individual by providing generous exit packages and help finding a new job."
Twitter is in a strange position; the company is both aggressively trying new products and innovations while becoming stagnant in new user growth. The company recently launched a "Moments" tab aimed at casual users which summarizes important Tweet stories and reactions, including only pertinent information. "Moments" is important, because a common complaint about Twitter is how it has become opaque and confusing to those who just signed up and don't know the ins-and-outs of the platform.
While Twitter has a robust 316 million users, that number is indicative of neither reaching the market saturation that Facebook has achieved, and the slow acquisition of new users means it is getting left behind by the massive growth spurts of a company like Snapchat.
The move to layoff employees comes amid a toughening marketplace for Twitter to compete in, as Facebook becomes more dominant and aggressive, and other micro-blogging platforms like Snapchat capture younger demographics. Twitter remains financially appealing and profitable, but that isn't really enough to survive long-term in the social network market.